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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
Policy guidance and technical support for agriculture are provided by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) through a Central Management Unit and four main departments. The Department of Agricultural Services (DAS) is responsible for Agricultural Extension Services, the Soil and Water Management Unit (SWMU), the Crop Protection Service, the Food and Nutrition Unit, and the Agricultural Communications Unit. The SWMU is in charge of developing policies for soil and water management, land capability zoning, upland conservation and development of small-scale water control schemes in lowland rice ecologies. It is divided into five sections, one of which - the Engineering Section - is involved in irrigation development.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNR&E) liaises closely with the SWMU.
Most farmers involved in irrigation/water management belong to Water User Groups. In the IFAD-led Small-Scale Water Control Project SSWCP, a three-tier organizational structure was established:
- Water Users Groups (WUGs) are the smallest units, which include farmers working adjacent plots in one swamp;
- Swamp Development Committees (SDCs), the next level up, oversee water management issues at swamp level;
- Local Management Committees (LMCs) are the highest level, including representatives of all villages involved in one scheme (which can include several swamps) to resolve cross cutting and policy issues.
However, none of these groups was working properly by the end of IFAD support in 1996 and both project staff and beneficiaries were unclear about responsibilities and work modalities.